Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg was established by Boris Eifman in 1977 (the original name of the company was Leningrad New Ballet). The concept of the New Ballet was above and beyond innovative for its time: from the very beginning the vision was to develop it as an experimental laboratory, a ballet theatre of one choreographer.
The Company’s first performances, such as Two-Voice and Boomerang, had immediate success and prompted both strong interest of the audience and a lively discussion among ballet critics who recognised the development of a new trend in Russian ballet art. However, proponents of the traditional ballet school were rather reluctant to acknowledge the young choreographer’s influence. The novelty of Eifman’s approach to choice of literary basis and music for his productions, as well as the audacity of the body movement vocabulary earned him the reputation of a “dissident in choreography” that stayed with Eifman for a long time.
In the late 1970s – early 1980s the Company developed its own approach to shaping of the repertoire. The playbill included a growing number of productions based on the gems of classical literature. The choreographer worked with his company, noted for their dance intellect, to explore new genres. New productions: The Duel, The Idiot, Day of Madness, or, The Marriage of Figaro, The Legend, Twelfth Night, Master and Margarita, Murderers and others – were distinguished by strikingly sharp choreographic patterns which aimed to express the height of passion experienced by the ballets’ characters.
Today ballet enthusiasts in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Australia admire productions of the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg: I, Don Quixote, Red Giselle, Russian Hamlet, Anna Karenina, The Seagull, Eugene Onegin, Rodin, Her Eternal Idol, Beyond Sin, Requiem, Up & Down, Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA. These widely acclaimed works not only represent the highest level of artistic achievement in Russian contemporary ballet but also introduce international audiences to the spiritual heritage of Russia and the best of world culture – the inspiration behind the work of the choreographer and his dancers.
For several decades Eifman Ballet enjoyed success when performing in top venues across the globe. The Company’s ability to immerse their audiences into the boundless world of human passion, to build a strong spiritual bond, to amaze and sometimes overwhelm them by the intensity and energy of its plastique, defined and ensured its recognition.
Boris Eifman is not just a choreographer; he is very much a philosopher. He is deeply concerned about the issues of today and challenged by the mystique of creativity. Eifman speaks directly to his audience about most complex and dramatic aspects of human existence. He defines the genre as “psychological ballet”. The New York Times calls Boris Eifman the leader among living choreographers: “The ballet world in search of a major choreographer need search no more. He is Boris Eifman.”
The Company is distinguished by its brilliant technique, exceptional commitment and intellectual interpretation. Its leading dancers, top of the range ballet professionals, recognised for their achievements both nationally and internationally, including prestigious theatre awards Golden Mask and Golden Soffit and prizes of the President and Government of Russia, implement Boris Eifman’s inspirational ideas. Among them are Maria Abashova, Lyubov Andreyeva, Dmitry Fisher, Oleg Gabyshev, Sergey Volobuev and others.
2011 marked an important development for the Company when the Government of St Petersburg decided to commence construction of the Boris Eifman Dance Academy at the initiative of the renowned choreographer. The school opened its doors for the first academic year in September 2013. The Academy complex will expand further in 2019 once construction of the St Petersburg Children’s Dance Theatre, a new venue that will host dance festivals, contests and performances, is completed. The school opened its doors for the first academic year in September 2013, and the Academy complex continued to expand in 2019 with the construction of the St. Petersburg Children’s Dance Theatre, a new venue that hosts dance festivals, competitions and performances.
The Boris Eifman Palace of Dance, envisioned to become one of the world’s centres of choreographic art, is due to open in St Petersburg in the near future. It will not only be the home for the Eifman Ballet but will also provide space and facilities to other companies and performers representing different styles and genres of dance.
Boris Eifman’s vision and mission is to create unique repertoire of ballet productions, which stems from the best examples of Russian psychological theatre, to explore innovative forms of choreography of the XXI century and broaden the boundaries of ballet art.
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